In 1935, W. E. B. Du Bois published an influential book titled Black Reconstruction in America. This audio excerpt, from a chapter titled “The Propaganda of History,” questions the ways in which Reconstruction was being studied and taught at the time.
The 1876 presidential race between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden was extremely close. Amidst violence, intimidation, and voter fraud, the winner of the election for president and governor in South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana was disputed. These states were the last three former Confederate states governed by Republicans. Congress set up a special commission to decide the election, and a compromise was reached. According to the Compromise of 1877, the three Southern states would give their electoral votes for president to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, but Democrats would be allowed to take control of the governments of those states. Hayes was inaugurated on March 5, 1877. Among his first acts was to end Northern occupation of the states still under military control.
In 1874, Congress was debating a new civil rights bill that would end segregation of public transportation and public accommodations (such as hotels). Charles Hays of Alabama, a former slaveholder turned Republican congressman, supported the bill despite growing opposition, threats, and violence in his state. Here he addresses Congress to share his views.